01.04.17. Birdlog

The morning weather forecast didn’t deter me from my mission and that was to sit it out looking over Frodsham Score. My arrival onto No.5 tank was temporary halted by the hugely vocal Cetti’s Warbler along the track there. Stopping (I thought) briefly to look over the north banks of No.6 was sidelined by the numbers of shorebirds frequenting the sludgie mud. The rain showers contributed to my next decision which was to retrace my steps and walk around No.6 and take up residence looking from the south side. I managed to secrete myself without disturbing the waders and settled down while the rain continued to fall. My cap was pulled down over my eyes and my ruck sack came in handy as a cushion to sit on. Eventually the rain eased and with plenty of cloths to wipe up the rain droplets I settled down to the Saturday matinee.

The numbers of Black-tailed Godwit flock have increased and are probably attributed to the recent higher tides on the river. Thegodwits numbered c850 and many were wearing coloured leg rings (but that’s for another day with hundreds of photo’s to sift through first). A couple of Bar-tailed Godwit popped out from the throng of blackwits during the course of my observation.

There were several summer plumaged Dunlin within a flock of 200 that settled on the mud and with them was a Little Stint. The 20 Ruff noted recently were here again including a white maned bird. A flock of 192 Golden Plover chose the drier areas to sit out the tide and typically for April most were in their handsome summer dress. Avocet also arrived with the tide and they reached a total of 16 birds with several pairs in their mating rituals.

Duck numbers were lower than expected but nonetheless there was 62 Tufted Duck, 230 Common Teal, a single drake Wigeon, several pairs of Gadwall and a few Common Shelduck.

A pair of Marsh Harrier dropped in for a circuit of the reed beds but didn’t cause too much concern to the shorebirds. A pair of Kestrel were engaged in their aerial display over the banks while a Peregrine flew over to the north-east, while a big female was sat on the blue topped chimney. Common Buzzard were pretty much the commonest raptor about.

Hirundines included 5 Sand Martin heading north while later in the day 5 Swallow were new for the year. At least 3 Wheatear were liking the short mowed grass at the model aircraft field. Nice to see that area put to good use for a change.

A Short-eared Owl flew along the banks and was only the second sighting of the year! A Grey Partridge flew along the track on No.5 and was presumably a released bird so it doesn’t count in my book.

Observers: Frank Duff, Paul Ralston, Gary Worthington, WSM (images).